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Railfan Technology > Is The Yaesu FT-3DR NXDN ready?

Date: 05/10/20 09:50
Is The Yaesu FT-3DR NXDN ready?
Author: Amtrak288

Is this radio cable of scanning the NXDN frequencies that railroads may switch to in the coming years?  Some internet research has not yielded a clear answer.

Date: 05/10/20 15:16
Re: Is The Yaesu FT-3DR NXDN ready?
Author: wa4umr

I don't think it is.  It used the same C4FM digital modulation over the air as NXDN but the CODEC (coder/decoder) between the audio and the radio is different.  The FR-3ER is most likely a fine radio.  I have the FT-2DR and I like it.  The only real problem is that it is hard on batteries.  

I'm a ham and I use it for that hobby but I also have the railroad channels programmed into it.  I usually talk with some Icom people this time of year but COVID canceled the convention where I meet them.  There are other vendors at that convention that I talk to and usually ask about NXDN.  There are a few companies that make NXDN radios but they are all north of $300  Alinco recently introduced a handheld (DJ-NX40T.)  Whistler had one two years ago but it's over $500.  Other than the railroads, there isn't much interest in NXDN.  There are a few businesses using it but not many.  At the rate the railroads are adopting it, it's going to be obsolete before they start using it.  The last time I talked to anyone that really knew, their estimate was that it would probably be 5 to 8 years before the railroads begin using NXDN on their road frequencies.


Date: 05/13/20 12:02
Re: Is The Yaesu FT-3DR NXDN ready?
Author: WW

The Yaesu will not decode NXDN.  As for the Alinco DJ-NX40T, it has been out for several years.  It is a UHF radio, which makes it essentially useless for railfan applications.Whister makes a couple of NXDN-capable scanners, but they cost more than some NXDN-capable two-way radios.  

I alway go back to my years-old suggestions:  If you want an NXDN-capable railfan radio, the best bet is to purchase a commercial Icom or Kenwood NXDN radio and have all of the AAR channels (analog and NXDN) programmed into it as receive only.  The Icom IC-F3161D and its successor, the IC-F3261D are good choices for portable, along with the Kenwood NX-200 and NX-210 (the 200 and 210 are the same radio, except for the keypad).  For mobiles, my recommendation remains either the Icom IC-5061D or the Kenwood NX-700.  All of these radios sport excellent performance in either analog or NXDN.  They are also showing up on the used market, as some commercial users are upgrading to much fancier NXDN radios that have additional capabilities, none of which the typical railfan would need.  I've owned and/or used all the models listed here for railfanning, and they all work well.  The tough part is getting the programming done to make the radio do what you want it to do--they are loaded with options in programming and many dealers who have the programming software don't, unfortunately, have a lot of experience programming NXDN radios.  I've been doing programming of NXDN radios for going on 10 years now, and I still find little "goodies" in the programming that I didn't know were there.

Date: 05/14/20 08:32
Re: Is The Yaesu FT-3DR NXDN ready?
Author: Amtrak288

Thanks for the info everyone, considering it appears that NXDN isn't happening for awhle yet with the railroads, I bought the FT-3DR from Ham Radio Outlet and I bought the PC software to program it (I did the same thing when I bought my FT-270R back in 2014), I'll get it programmed this weekend and see how things go.  I also just ordered the 5/8 wave 160Mhz antenna from Smiley Antenna today, I've had good luck with their regular rubber duck 160Mhz antenna on the FT-270R which I still have and still works well after almost 6 years!

Date: 05/14/20 11:13
Re: Is The Yaesu FT-3DR NXDN ready?
Author: WW

As I've posted umpteen times, no "mainstream" amatuer portable radio wil tune the "splinter" narrow-band analog frequencies that have been available for railroad use since 2013.  That's why I don't recommend any amateur portable radio for railfanning purposes at this point.  I've also quit recommending some of the Chinese radios that will tune the splinter channels.  A lot of them are either poor or uneven quality, and I try not to buy ANY Chinese products at this point if I don't absolutely have to.

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